Poirot: Agatha Christie's Poirot - Sad Cypress

Poirot: Agatha Christie's Poirot - Sad Cypress


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The short Poirot TV series was limited by time, although never moulded into stereotype, mainly due to David Suchet's incomparable performances. Accusations of vicarage filmmaking are easy gibes to fling at Dame Agatha's drawing-room dramas, especially when the set designers and wardrobe people do such a good job at recreating the period.

Sad Cypress, with Five Little Pigs, heralds a new full-length Christie season and is hugely welcome. The quality of acting, writing and direction is of the highest. Whatever you may think of the lady's literary ability, an Agatha Christie whodunit is going to be cleverly plotted, make no mistake.

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The ingredients are in place for Col Mustard in the conservatory with a candlestick, except, in this case, there are no military gentleman and the method of murder appears to be morphine. It's that word again - "appears" - which can never be trusted; Hercule Poirot understands only too well.

He is invited to investigate a poison pen letter, hardly the kind of thing that the famous Belgian sleuth should be wasting his talents upon, but he's hanging around the village, wrapping up another case, and needs a playful distraction.

The letter indicates many things that would otherwise have gone unnoticed, suggesting jealousy, betrayal, greed and revenge. The setting is a grand house, in which its owner (Diana Quick) is bedridden after a stroke. Her niece (Elisabeth Dermot Walsh) and fiance (Rupert Penry-Jones) have come to visit, only to find that the gardener's daughter (Kelly Reilly) has grown into a self-assured, beautiful young woman, who has become extremely close to the invalid.

Inevitably, murder follows. The niece is arrested and the family doctor (Paul McGann) calls on Poirot for help. A classic, well honed mystery is set in motion.

Suspicion falls upon each and every one. What appears obvious is a trick of the light and herrings are the colour of poppies.

Suchet, meanwhile, continues to amaze.

Reviewed on: 16 Apr 2004
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Poirot: Agatha Christie's Poirot - Sad Cypress packshot
The Belgian sleuth follows the lead of a poison pen letter to a country house murder.
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Director: David Moore

Writer: Daniel Pirie

Starring: David Suchet, Elisabeth Dermot Walsh, Rupert Penry-Jones, Kelly Reilly, Paul McGann, Diana Quick, Phyllis Logan, Marion O'Dwyer

Year: 1989

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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